Top Recruit Josh Jackson: Coming Soon to Lawrence, Kansas?

Kansas got a big boost to its recruiting class a few weeks back when five-star center Udoka Azubuike pledged to Bill Self and the Jayhawks. However, KU is far from done recruiting this year.

In Self’s ideal world, he’d bring in one more recruit to close out the 2016 class. It would be a recruit that would really put an exclamation point on this recruiting class. A recruit that would have an Andrew Wiggins-level impact at Kansas.

That recruit would be Josh Jackson.

The #1 overall recruit in the 2016 class on 247 Sports and Rivals is down to Kansas, Arizona, and Michigan State. Josh Jackson is an athletic freak who is also a ferocious scorer. Jackson, a native of Detroit, certainly doesn’t have a lack for confidence either. He has a swagger about him that you simply cannot teach. Jackson (6’7″, 195 lbs.) is long and lengthy and has an incredibly quick first step. He is a sensational defender, and he is a phenomenal rebounder. He is an Andrew Wiggins-level athlete. He simply bounces off the floor unlike any other athlete in the 2016 class. He has a great post-game for someone who will naturally play the two or three in the NBA.

You would be foolish to ignore the similarities between the two athletes. However, I honestly believe that Jackson is the much more ready college player. Jackson is much more naturally aggressive than Wiggins. Wiggins took a lot of criticism from people while at KU for his quiet personality. Fans wanted to see the team’s best player step up and be aggressive at the critical moments of a game. Ben McLemore got the same criticism. However, this would not be an issue with Josh Jackson.

Jackson simply wants the ball on every possession, as opposed to letting the game come to him like the other two. He would simply be a force if he were to commit to Kansas. Jackson could slide right into the three spot for Kansas next year. In my opinion, the starting five should be Mason/Graham, Selden (if he returns), Jackson, Bragg, and Lucas, should the Jayhawks pick up a commitment. KU would also be able to go with the four guard lineup that it showed against OU with Perry Ellis being the only big on the floor, but to start, one of the point guards would be the Jayhawks’ sixth man.

Now, the story with Jackson is that he is currently down to three schools: Kansas, Arizona, and Michigan State.

I think if he was to announce today, Josh Jackson would be a Kansas Jayhawk.
There are several rumors floating around, and I want to give everyone a brief update of what I am currently hearing. Miles Bridges (top recruit for Michigan State & friend of Jackson) claimed that he thought Jackson was down to Michigan State and Arizona. However, that could not be further from what I heard from a couple of reliable sources.

Kansas had ground to make up on Michigan State and Arizona before Jackson visited back in January. Self and his staff knocked the visit out of the park. Jackson claimed that it was the loudest basketball environment he had ever been in, and he said that he was impressed with Self’s commitment to his desire to get a degree in communications. KU simply could not have made a better impression on the top overall recruit.

Here is the latest from what I am hearing: Arizona is still right there at the top of Jackson’s list, but Kansas is making a huge push. Rawle Alkins (top 20 SG in 2016 class) looks to be leaning towards the Wildcats. Combine that with the commitment of five-star guard Kobi Simmons, and you could see a log jam at Arizona. An Alkins commitment could put Kansas solely in the driver’s seat for Jackson. I was told that Jackson absolutely fell in love with Kansas on his visit, which could mean that he is currently leaning towards Kansas even if Alkins goes elsewhere. Michigan State is fading from what I’ve been told. I think all three schools are up there, but I would put Kansas and Arizona on another level at the current moment.

Keep in mind that Jackson is a high school kid and could change his mind tomorrow. If everyone was told that everybody would be choosing tomorrow, here’s what I think would happen: I think Alkins pops for Arizona, and Jackson follows in the footsteps of someone he looks up to in Andrew Wiggins. Now again, things can always change, but I am very optimistic about the Jayhawks’ chances to land the top recruit in the 2016 class.

For more information about Kansas’ targets in the 2016 class, click here.

For in-depth analysis on what Jayhawk commit Udoka Azubuike brings to KU, click here.

For a breakdown of Kansas’ targets in the 2017 class, click here.

Daniel Cunningham

Rock Chalk Blog recruiting expert. Co-host of the Inside the Paint podcast. twitter.com/dc4213